Subscribe via RSS Feed Connect on Google Plus Connect on Flickr

A human head in bronze

Sunday, 20 March, 2016

The poet Edwin Morgan was born in Glasgow in 1920 and studied English at Glasgow University. During the Second World War he became as a conscientious objector, to the horror of his loyal Presbyterian parents, but he compromised by serving in the Royal Army Medical Corps in Egypt, the Lebanon and Palestine. A true original, he lived on his own all his life and when he won the Soros Translation Award in 1985, he spent the prize money on a day trip to Lapland on the Concorde.

This poem brings back memories of a trip to Holy Cross Abbey, a restored Cistercian monastery near Thurles, County Tipperary, Ireland.

A human head

A human head would never do
under the mists and rains or tugged
by ruthless winds or whipped with leaves
from raving trees. But who is he
in bronze, who is the moveless one?
The poet laughed, It isn’t me.
It’s nearly me, but I am free
to dodge the showers or revel in them,
to walk the alleys under the stars
or waken where the blackbirds are.
Some day my veins will turn to bronze
and I won’t hear, or make, a song.
Then indeed I shall be my head
staring ahead, or so it seems,
but you may find me watching you,
dear traveller, or wheeling round
into your dreams.

Edwin Morgan (1920 – 2010)

Holy Cross Abbey, Tipperary


Comments are closed.